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					                                                           May 20 , 2005




    Environmental Health
             Issues and Priorities in the
                 Pacific Northwest
                               Robert Duff
                                Director
              Office of Environmental Health Assessments
                Washington State Department of Health




Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                          May 21, 2005



             Comparative Risk Projects
  • EPA and states
       – US EPA in 1987 issued
         Unfinished Business: A
         Comparative Assessment of
         Environmental Problems
       – Regions and states followed
  • Highest ranking issues
       – Indoor air
       – Outdoor air
       – Others
            • Lead, pesticides, food


Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
    Risk Assessment Methods

           Non-cancer Risk   Cancer Risk

Response      Threshold      No Threshold
Type of Result Yes/No        Probability
     Non-Cancer Assessment

            RESPONSE

                          Threshold




                       “Safety    DOSE
Health                 Factors”
benchmark
      Assessment Methods
           Non-cancer Risk             Cancer Risk

Response      Threshold               No Threshold
Type of Result Yes/No                 Probability

              New guidance moving toward a
              more qualitative approach that
                acknowledges thresholds
                   Cancer Assessment

                      Measurable Range                            1,000 in 10,000
# of Cancers


                (Epidemiology or Animal Study)
                                                            500 in 10,000

               Threshold?
                                                 100 in 10,000

                                        50 in 10,000



                    Predicted Range
                   (Risk Assessment)


                                  DOSE
                                              May 21, 2005



                Challenges - Uncertainty
     • Exposure
          – Models versus measurement
          – “Background”
     • Toxicity
          – Cancer – low dose extrapolation
          – Mixtures
          – Endocrine disruption
     • Environmental justice


Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                                          May 21, 2005



     Challenges - Background Exposure
   • EPA is not calculating an RfD (Reference
     Dose) for dioxin…..
        – “Any RfD that the Agency would recommend under
          the traditional approach for setting an RfD is likely
          to be 2-3 orders of magnitude (100-1,000) below
          current background intakes and body burdens.
          Because exceeding the RfD is not a statement of
          risk, discussion of an RfD for an incremental
          exposure when the RfD has already been
          exceeded by average background exposures is
          meaningless.”
Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                              May 21, 2005



    Major Issues in the Pacific Northwest
       • Persistent, bioaccumulative toxics (PBTs)
            – Fish consumption advisories
       • Area-wide soil contamination
            – Arsenic and lead




Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                                    May 21, 2005

               What are Persistent,
          bioaccumulative toxics (PBTs)?
    • Polychlorinated biphenlys (PCBs), methyl
      mercury, organochlorine pesticides (DDT,
      chlordane), dioxin, polybrominated diphenyl
      ethers (flame retardants)
    • Build-up in our environment and our bodies
         – Slow to breakdown in the environment
         – Uptake exceeds elimination rate
         – Often store in fat (not methylmercury)
    • Also known as POP’s
Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                                  May 21, 2005



                Why are we concerned?
      • Recent fish consumption studies show in
        utero exposure results in developmental
        problems
            – PCBs and methylmercury
            – Learning and behavior deficits
      • PBDEs – flame retardants
            – Similar effects in animal studies



Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                                     May 21, 2005



                    What is a fish advisory?
    • General advice
         – Choosing fish with lower contaminant levels
         – Cooking and preparation
         – Variety
    • Meal limits
         – Generally bounded by upper and lower limits for
           effectiveness
              • 4, 2, 1, 0 meals/month
              • EPA guidance



Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                                              May 21, 2005



                    What is a fish advisory?
      • Species specific
           – Most advice is broken down by species
                • Surrogates can be used for trophic levels
      • Water body specific
           – Hazardous waste release or just a lake that
             was sampled?
           – DOH currently has 14 water body specific
             advisories
      • Statewide advice
           – Mercury


Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                                            May 21, 2005



             Who are we trying to protect?
        • High-end consumers
             – Native American tribes
             – Asian and Pacific Islander communities
        • Women of child-bearing age and children
             – Clearly a concern for the developing fetus
             – PCBs and mercury
             – Flame retardants, dioxin?
        • General population
             – For PCBs not mercury
             – No consensus on mercury effects in adults
                   • Blood pressure


Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                     Duwamish River - Seattle, WA

                  Rockfish
Fish species




               English sole
                                                                         PCBs
                   chinook


                     choho


                              0     100       200      300       400
                          Polychlorinated biphenyls (parts per bilion)
Yelloweye rockfish
             Shark
         Swordfish
    Orange roughy
             Marlin
   Tuna (albacore)                                           Puget Sound
 Quillback rockfish
    Brown rockfish
                                                             FDA study
           Bluefish
            Halibut
   Copper rockfish
          Sablefish
           Snapper
              Carp
  Tuna (Can, light)
               Cod
           Chinook
    E. sole (urban)
          Whitefish
            Pollock
            Flatfish
            Catfish
              Coho
E. sole (nonurban)
           Sardine

                   0.0   0.2   0.4      0.6      0.8   1.0      1.2        1.4
                                     Mercury (ppm)
                                                                  May 21, 2005



                              Key Messages
     • Eat fish, Be smart
          – Fish are good for you
               • Omega-3 fatty acids
          – Moving away from “limit, limit, limit”
          – Provide info so consumers can eat heart
            health 2 meals/week - American Heart
            Association
               • Most people do not eat 2 meals per week
                    – Many choices are safe to eat at this rate




Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                                      May 21, 2005



                              Key Messages
     • Work with high consumers
          – Tribes, Asian Pacific islanders communities
          – Benefits of more than 2 meals per week likely
            still outweigh risks
               • Cutoff????
     • What are we doing to get/keep PBTs out
       of our food web???




Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
             Communication is Key




From Oregon – Portland Harbor/Willamette River Presentation – D. Stone
                                          May 21, 2005




Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                                                    May 21, 2005



           Global Efforts to reduce PBTs
       • International
            – Persistent Organic Pollutants
            – Stockholm Convention
       • Europe
            – REACH
                  • Registration, evaluation and authorization of
                    chemical products
                  • Precautionary principle




Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                                     May 21, 2005



           Global Efforts to reduce PBTs
       • US EPA
            – Toxics Substances Control Act (TSCA)
                  • PBDE Significant New Use Rule
            – Clean Air Act
                  • Mercury
       • Washington
            – PBT Initiative
            – Mercury, flame retardants - PBTs


Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                             May 21, 2005



         Area-wide Soil Contamination
     • Arsenic (As) and lead (Pb) in Washington
       State
          – Old orchard lands
          – Tacoma smelter plume
          – Everett smelter
          – Northport smelter




Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                          May 21, 2005




Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                          May 21, 2005




Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                                         May 21, 2005



         Area-wide Soil Contamination
     • Orchard lands not well characterized
          – Spraying was sporadic
          – GIS with aerial photography
               • Identifying old sites
               • Targeting both sampling and education




Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
Libby, Montana
                                                           May 21, 2005




                   Vermiculite - asbestos
     • Libby, MT
          – background
     • Vermiculite
          – Contained high-levels 30-50% asbestos (tremolite)
     • Direct link to health effects
     • Nationwide problem
          – Exfoliation facilities
          – Attic insulation




Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                                                 May 21, 2005




                   Vermiculite - asbestos
    • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease
      Registry
         – Medical screening
         – Nationwide follow-up on over 200 sites
              • 28 priority sites including one in Spokane and
                Portland
         – National Asbestos Exposure Review
    • EPA cleanup of site and homes in Libby
      ongoing


Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                                                                              May 21, 2005



                      Vermiculite - asbestos
                                          Pleural Findings –
                                                                         Interstitial -
                                              All Views
                                                                           PA View

          Exposure Class        n         Normal     Abnormal        Normal        Abnormal


       No Apparent Exposure    122    116 (95%)     6 (5%)         121 (99%)      1 (1%)


       1-3 Exposure Pathways   1569   1394 (89%)    175 (11%)      1559 (99%)     10 (1%)


       4-5 Exposure Pathways   1488   1262 (85%)    226 (15%)      1471 (99%)     17 (1%)


       6+ Exposure Pathways    2411   1824 (76%)    587 (24%)      2390 (99%)     21 (1%)



        Total                  5590                 994 (17.8%)                  49 (0.9%)
        Background                                  0.2 to 2.3 %




Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                                                     May 21, 2005


                   Vermiculite - asbestos
     • Legislation
          – Liability and compensation
          – Ban – Sen. Murray
               • Asbestos is not banned in the US
                    – US District court overturned EPA ban of most uses in
                      1990

     • Future activities - EPA and ATSDR
          – Assess 28 exfoliation facilities across US
          – Address vermiculite in attic insulation


Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA
                                          May 21, 2005




Highline Community College – Tacoma, WA

				
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